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WASHINGTON — In addition to articles already covered by Native News Online, here is a roundup of other news released from Washington, D.C. that impacts Indian Country recently.

U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee Proposes Increased Funding for the Indian Housing Block Grant Program
There is bipartisan support for proposed increases to the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) program. 
 
On Thursday, the U.S. House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee's proposed budget would increase IHBG funding by 9% ($1.22 billion). While the Subcommittee's majority upheld their promise to slash funding for HUD programs, Native American program funding was largely protected under the leadership of Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
 
In March , the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 was passed, appropriating $1.34 billion to Native American Programs. Included in that $1.34 billion was $1.11 billion made available for the Indian Housing Block Grant program. At the time, Chair Cole said, “I am very proud to announce that I, along with the help of Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, was able to secure more than $1.34 billion for Native American housing programs and $150 million in discretionary appropriations for Tribal Transportation programs."
 
“These historic gains will work to address the pressing housing and transportation needs of Tribal communities, as well as increase the standard for this necessary funding in the future,” said Cole. “As a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, it will always be a priority of mine to ensure that the needs of Tribal communities are represented here in Washington, D.C., and I am very happy to have secured this essential funding.”
Additional $43 Million for Rural Water Projects, as Part of Investing in America Agenda. Released

The Department of the Interior on Thursday announced a $43 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for rural water projects that will provide clean, reliable drinking water to rural and Tribal communities. Investments through the Bureau of Reclamation will support six projects already under construction or in the planning phase in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota, and follows $733 million previously announced for rural water projects from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

Included in the funding are the Fort Peck Reservation and the Jicarilla Apache Nation:

  • $9.8 million for the Fort Peck Reservation/Dry Prairie in Montana to fund completion of the Pines Service Area Project. $54 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is being used in the Fort Peck-Dry Prairie Rural Water System to complete the final two phases of service lines within the reservation.  Dry Prairie is completing service lines in the Scobey/Flaxville service areas and the Outlook/Westby service areas. 
  • $5 million for the Jicarilla-Apache Nation to continue data collection and design work. This builds on $22 million previously committed through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the design and construction of project components of the previous phase of the rural water system. 

“With historic resources from President Biden's Investing in America, we are continuing to make significant investments to help states and Tribes to fundamentally alter current and future of water sustainability and conservation efforts across the country,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said.

USDA Hosts Tribal Consultations on Tribal Self-Determination

In June, USDA hosted a historic set of consultations on furthering Tribal self-determination in forestry, meat inspections, and food and nutrition. We want to thank the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) for hosting us for these substantive Nation-to-Nation discussions, where we identified opportunities for deepening Tribal engagement within USDA’s existing legal authorities, as well as what additional flexibilities Tribes see as necessary for fulfilling Executive Order 14112. The framing papers for those consultations are available on our website at Tribal Consultations | USDA, and USDA will accept written comments through July 5 at [email protected].

 

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